New Zealand Police Spotlight Bitcoin Ransom Scam Targeting Porn Viewing

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New Zealand police issued an alert on April 13 regarding a crypto-related scam that threatens victims with release of information on their porn use.

According to a report published in the NZ Herald, the authorities say that the scammers extort victims through email. The scammers claim to have obtained information about the targeted victim’s consumption of pornography and threaten to leak that information if victims do not pay a ransom of NZ$1,900 (US$1,150) in Bitcoin (BTC).

Victims receive an alert from the fraudsters, in which they assure that they have hacked the user’s computer and spied on internet activity, mainly focused on adult content videos. The scammers threaten to share that information with family and friends.

Scammers threaten to leak false data from victims

However, according to Callum McNeil, a senior sergeant detective, the victims are forced to give in to the fraudsters’ claims after being pressured with false claims that they have information obtained from their computer webcams.

In some scam emails, fraudsters also claim to have obtained passwords used by victims.

McNeil also highlights that this type of fraud is not new, nor is it the first time that it has targeted New Zealand residents. Such scams have circulated for at least two years. However, the fact that they are asking for ransoms in Bitcoins is a new development that Waitemata Police are investigating.

The detective recommends that when a user receives such an email, they should delete it immediately. He added the following:

«We ask anyone who believes they are a victim of this scam and have transferred money to contact police by phoning 105.»

Crypto-related blackmailing scams increasing in the UK

Crypto-related scams have gained momentum around the world in recent months, in part fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a report published on March 19, British police also warned of about 562 cases of Bitcoin-related blackmail in the last two years.